Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.
from Wendell Berry’s How To Be a Poet
Somehow we’ve found ourselves in mid-summer and I’ve discovered that I can accomplish tasks in the online world while hanging in the backyard on a blanket next to the summer squash. The connection is a little slow and not altogether consistent but that opportunity leads to moments to turn and stare at the cloudless sky and listen for the gaps between the sound of the trees. Today there is more commotion with the street noise and I remember instead a more peaceful mid-summer day years ago, lying on my back in my parents’ yard out in the country, staring up through their ancient, looming trees, just listening.
Coconut Basil Zucchini Rolls, serves 4-5
Recipe Updated: 9/13/21
This mid-summer recipe is a creation for The Recipe Redux, as we were challenged to use the season’s abundance in interesting shapes. I basically took a bunch of what’s growing in the backyard right now and made it into a quinoa salad of sorts, and then rolled it up in grilled zucchini. The same can be done with eggplant instead of zucchini and the vegetable fillings can be interchanged accordingly.
To make this easier, but certainly less beautiful to look at, this is also wonderful to make lasagna style, with the zucchini (or eggplant) being used like noodles and the quinoa, veggies, and coconut basil sauce added in layers, followed by repeating the process. Then bake as instructed.
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
4 cloves garlic
2 cups packed basil leaves
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. fennel seeds
¼ cup capers, divided
1 Tbs. lemon juice and zest
¼ tsp. sea salt and black pepper
2-3 large zucchini, sliced thinly lengthwise (or 1 very large eggplant)
1 small broccoli, cut into small pieces
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 tsp. mustard seeds
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen peas
- Place quinoa in a saucepan, add the water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat immediately and simmer for about 15 minutes, before setting aside.
- In a food processor or blender, puree the garlic, basil, coconut milk, spices, about half the capers, lemon juice, zest, and salt and pepper. Then set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lay zucchini slices on a flat baking dish covered with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes until soft through. Repeat as necessary if not all the slices fit on one sheet.
- Then spread the broccoli and mushroom pieces out on the baking dish lined with parchment and sprinkle with salt and mustard seeds. Place in the oven and bake for 5-8 minutes.
- When the quinoa is slightly cooled and the vegetables are done, stir in about ¾ of the coconut basil sauce, the remaining capers, roasted broccoli, mushrooms, and the peas.
- Roll the zucchini: Place the zucchini strips, one by one, in front of you. Add a large spoonful of the quinoa mixture at the bottom of it and roll up lengthwise away from you. Place the rolls back in the baking pan with parchment paper. There will be more filling than rolls (unless you make grill up some big zucchini), so inter-space some of the extra filling among the rolls as you go. Drizzle with the remaining basil sauce.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes at 400°F just to heat through.
Listen to Wendell Berry read the entire poem. It is beautiful.